Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Bunny List

Fiorella expects Peeps, marshmallow eggs, and LOTSA chocolate for Easter, but she's also taping another list to the handle of her pink and purple basket.

Fio wants a maid to keep the house clean and in order, preferably once a week,  And she wants a yardman, ditto.  And an accountant to handle the taxes and take care of the bills.  She also wants a driver, on call at all times, because she herself is erratic behind the wheel.  Oh, and an IT person who could nip her frequent computer problems in the bud.

All of whom would work gratis of course, for the sheer pleasure of Fiorella's company.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Which Path?

As per yesterday's epistle, Fio spent most of the day rereading one of her half-finished literary efforts--Lolly's story, for those of you who've read WHAT THE HEART WANTS, which is Laurel's story. Lolly's tale is a good story, Fio thinks, but would take her a couple of months to finish off, months which might be better spent writing a novella and getting it out quick.  A novella for which Fio has no plot whatsoever in mind.

Hmmmm.  Stay tuned for a decision.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Laying Plans

Fiorella was disheartened to learn that WHERE THE HEART LEADS will not come out until November, but then she realized that, because the story takes place in October-November-December, the release date will be perfect.  Added to that, Friend Denney said the date would work well for her because she could give copies of the book to people as Christmas presents.

But in the meantime, Fio needs to be writing something else.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Fiorella has decided she needs to find an influential public figure or reviewer who will say good things about WHAT THE HEART WANTS.  Oprah?  Why not?

And, in regard to WHERE THE HEART LEADS, Fiorella got together with one of her beta readers, Denney Rodriquez, at Starbucks (where else?), and Denney was very kind to her--especially about the ranching details she herself had supplied.

And now for the next book.  Fiorella has three possibilities she's mulling over--writing a third Bosque Bend book, finishing Lolly's story, or writing a new book set somewhere else about a quilt artist who is the only survivor of a family massacre.

I know--all typical Fiorella.

Meanwhile, if you know of anyone who might be willing to endorse WHAT THE HEART WANTS, let Fio know and she'll send a book speeding that way.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Leicester Cathedral

Fiorella is fascinated by the fact that the remains of England's King Richard III, which were found beneath a parking lot, were recently reburied in Leicester Cathedral--as if it matters where people, even important people, are interred.  Sometime in the future, the cathedral will be demolished by war or terrorists or an alien invasion, and the bones will be lost again.  As will ours, no matter where we are laid to rest.

"Ozymandias," people.  Reread "Ozymandias."

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Fiorella took the day off yesterday.  Well, she'd developed a bad headache and pretty much had to, but, like many bad things, it worked out for the best.  Her brain had been blasted on Tuesday by working on the taxes.  And she's been doing catch-up stuff after writing night and day for a couple of months there. But yesterday, all she did was drive off for a photofacial, which is relaxing in itself, then spend the rest of the the day watching dumb television, and drowsing.  Oh--and Husband took her out for a steak dinner.

But today, she'll hit the old grindstone again.  Her list is waiting.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

GOP Race

It's not news
That Ted Cruz
Will certainly lose--
He's so far to the right
That he's out of sight
A troglodyte
So why the fight?

Maybe because he likes the limelight, maybe to keep his senatorial seat safe, maybe to make a run for VP.
We'll see,

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Interesting news, at least to Firella.  She's been talking back and forth to her agent, and the agent said Fio might have to change her pen name.  Does that mean Fiorella is now box-office poison?  Or that she may be changing publishers?  Or that her first name is too hard to spell?

Well whatever, Fio is having a great time contemplating new names.  Ah, the fun of renaming oneself.  How about "Sally," which she named herself when she was about four years old and planned to have about ten children, all of them girls?


Monday, March 23, 2015


It's so embarrassing when you invite someone to join you for an afternoon at the theater and the production is less than stellar.  Thus it was with a certain degree of anxiety that Husband and Fio trekked into Georgetown to meet with Nephew Barrett and his wife, Rachel, for a Sunday afternoon performance of Anything Goes, the 1934 Cole Porter musical.

Fiorella started getting nervous when the overture blared forth, over-loud as usual, but her fingers in her ears saved her,  Then she noticed what looked like bad champagne-blonde wigs on a some of the cast.  Then she met Reno Sweeny and the show went uphill from there.

Except for the black outfit the ingenue was cursed with, the costumes were great--Fio loved those slinky 1930s slip-like dresses,  And the choreography was great too--so many people dancing at once and so well coordinated. And the scenery was really good--Fio kept staring at the brig scene, trying to figure out if the background was real or trompe d'oiel.

And the songs.  Fiorella never realized the songs that came from this show: "I Get a Kick Out of You;" "Easy to Love;" "It's De-Lovely"; "Blow, Gabriel; and, of course, "Anything Goes."

Anything Goes is a silly story requiring the audience's total suspension of disbelief, and the Georgetown Palace pulled it off. All in all, the show was worthy of its standing ovation, and more besides.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Linguisitic Puzzle

Fiorella is curious about which way the reduction of the English case system will go.  We've already subsumed the second singular thou into you, and now we are working on the first person.  Confusion reigns supreme right now, as in "Her and me are going to the store" or "Give it to she and I."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Regarding Death

Regarding terrorists:  death means nothing to them because life means nothing to them.  Their existences are empty.

Regarding pharaohs:  they built elaborate tombs because--let's face it--we'll all spend a lot more time dead than we will alive.

Regarding Fiorella:  when she dies, the glue that has held together her atoms will dissipate and she will be free to roam the universe, but somewhere the essence of Fio will still exist--creating, questioning, and wishing all people well.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fictional Reality

No, Fio does not go to the movies, nor does she watch them on television--she doesn't have the time.  She's always working on the house or the yard or keeping up with friends or, as you know, writing, which is her full-time job.  Besides, she's more interested in reality than fiction.  But Fiorella, you say, you write fiction.  To which Fiorella replies, "My fiction is reality."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

One More Down, A Million to Go

The tree is down--dismembered, in fact. It took about four hours.  First, Fio had to retag every branch with a color-coded slip of paper because the old tags were fast becoming indecipherable.  Yes, dear reader, the tree is that old.  In fact, it is so old that it wasn't born with lights n it.

Next, Fio had to stack the limbs in boxes and, as it turned out, bags.  Next came the out-to-the-garage-storage-area stage, which Husband, bless him, helped with.  And now comes the sweeping up of the trail of tinsel along the pathway, which Fiorella has yet to tackle.

But the tree is yet another item off Fiorella's post-book list.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Suicidal Bad Guys

Let's lay it on the table.  Fiorella sees no sense in police preventing people who have committed horrible crimes from killing themselves, or in medical personnel trying to save their lives so they can stand trial.  Why waste time and money on a trial?  Why set up an opportunity for bad people to receive short sentences or get off scott free?  Why drag friends and family through hell and back again?

Fio does not understand.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Change of Focus

Especially toward the end, Fiorella concentrated so much on her book that Christmas decorations stayed up, her hamper overflowed, every surface in the house got covered with notes, she asked Husband to walk the dog, and she didn't leave the house unless absolutely necessary.

Monday began a new world.  Fiorella now has all the Christmas stuff packed, and will move it to the garage shelves today.  She started laundry last night.  She went through the notes and discarded most of them, she joined Husband on the dog walk, and she drove out to meet one of her literary groups. Yesterday evening, though, she felt very strange, like she was forgetting something important, then realized that eight-to-twelve had been her most intensive writing time.

Relax, Fio.  The manuscript is in, and all you have to do is deliver copies to your beta readers.  And think up another story.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fiorella the Bard

Fiorella sent her full manuscript off to her editor last night at 9:43 pm and is now free to act like a human being until the revisions come in.

But she can't help but reflect on various aspects of her book, like why her heroine was a woman who had been hired by a small Texas town to direct its civic theater.  Probably because Fio has a fair amount of theater experience and knows people who can fill in the blanks.  But it also might be because, as an author, Fio is a director herself.  She sets up her characters and gives them roles to play, roles which they must stay true to in order to make the "play" come out right.

Every fiction writer is his own Shakespeare.  Think about it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Robot World

Fiorella heard on the news last night that robots are being developed which "we won't be able to tell from ourselves if we passed them in the hall."  A gaggle of people were protesting the announcement--as if that ever helped--and a suave suit reassured the television reporter that robots would cooperate with humans and open a new world of scientific and medical advancement.

Fio realizes that there's no way to stop or even slow down "progress," but she also know that advances are mixed blessings.  The computer, which was ballyhooed as the salvation of mankind, providing education and enlightenment for all, is now the greatest purveyor of porn the world has ever known.

Robots may be pure of heart and mind, but humans aren't.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fio's Enlightenments While Driving

The recent raw weather dug a couple of big potholes in Hwy 29.  Now Fio knows why tires are made of rubber.
Do not put off till tomorrow what you can sneak under the wire today.
A woman is a perpetual motion machine, or at least Fiorella is.
Fio's writing career has taken over not only her life, but the doors of her pantry and kitchen cabinets,
Be active, do good, let death unterrupt you, not proceed you.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Salvation Through Sadism.

You've heard Fio sound forth on this issue before, and now you'll hear her again.  She will never write a "romance" like Fifty Shades of Grey, no matter how much money it would pull in, because she thinks the book sets up a bad role model for impressionable women--i.e., all of us.  It's way too inviting to give up one's personal independence to a man who values you so much that he wants to own you, especially if that man is young, handsome, and rich, rich, rich--and it's thrilling to think that one can "heal him" by doing whatever he wants you to.

But sadists do not heal through acting out--they only get worse.  

Unlax, Fiorella, it's just a book of fiction, you say.  But, Fiorella replies, we model our lives and our values on the basis of fiction, which is why Fio's current book is anti-BDSM.  In fact, your faithful correspondent has been known to refer to WHERE THE HEART LEADS as her "up yours" to Fifty Shades--a position, she understands, that is quite familiar to Anastasia Steele.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Steppin' Out

Fiorella got out for the first time since she went into isolation to complete the book, and it was glorious.  She stopped by the bank to deposit a check for one of her books, then kept her appointment with her INR nurse, who has read WHAT THE HEART WANTS three times already.  After that, she drove over to Georgetown High School and asked to see the principals' office because she's using one in WHERE THE HEART LEADS and want her depiction to be real  The principal and his people at the school were very gracious and will get a nice than-you note from Fio.

Next, Fiorella dropped by Starbucks to buy gift cards for the RWA raffle baskets and to look the shop over for another scene in her book.  Then it was on to HEB for a list of groceries and Target for electrical tape and Walgreen's for hair spray.

Four hours of go, go, go.  The rest of her week will be spent writing, writing, writing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

More Personal Snippets

Fiorella's life has been a series of anecdotes.
Fio is a philosopher.  Friend Jeanell is a shameless hustler.
For Fio, writing a novel is like finding her way to the center of a maze--she has to back out of a lot of dead-end passages along the way.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Book IS Done

Fiorella finished the book at 12:15 last night.  Finished her first draft, that is.  She has two whole days to review and revise before she forwards it to her editor, who will send it back for further revisions in a couple of weeks.  And during those two or whatever weeks, Fio will race around like a demon trying to get everything done that she didn't do while she was writing.

And she will.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Bidelspach, Here Comes Fiorella!

Fio will submit WHERE THE HEART LEADS to Michele Bidelspach, editor extraordinaire, tomorrow, probably around noon.  The manuscript is not as perfect as Fio could make it, but that would take forever--literally.  Fio is never quite satisfied with anything she writes--or does--and circles back from time to time on voyages of improvement.

Besides, Fio is wiser about the role of editors now than the first time around.  They don't just point out stupid mistakes and accidental repeats--they provide a fresh viewpoint of the story, a viewpoint which can help the author make his/her theme more effective.

And reaching the reader is what we all want to do.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Three Shocks of Fiorella

The road to becoming a published author is a learning experience--a rough one.

Fio's first shock was when her agent asked for revisions.  Revisions? Didn't Liza sign Fio on because the book was perfect?  After all, it had been written out of Fio's heart and soul.  But heart and soul don't always sell so Fio revised, and her book became deeper because of it.

Fio's second shock was when her editor asked for revisions.  Fiorella went into shock for two weeks before she even attempted to follow through.  But again, editors know what sells.  And Fio was not being asked to change the plot in the least.

Fio's third shock was when she leafed through the book after it had been published.  Ye Gods!  Why hadn't she noticed she'd used the word "children" in two successive sentences?  And that the construction of the sentence on the following page was so clumsy that she changed it when she was giving a reading?

Now you know why authors drink.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Dear Watson

Remember how taken Fiorella has always been with fires (in the fireplace, of course)?  Well, she's decided to put her fascination to use by having the heroine of WHERE THE HEART LEADS get all hot and bothered as she watches Tall, Red and Handsome start a fire from scratch.

There's something elemental about a fire.  And sex is pretty damn elemental too.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Christmas in March

Hooray for Fiorella!  She's used her breaks to take down Christmas decorations and now only has two swags, high ones that she has to use a tall ladder on, to go.  Plus the plastic snowflakes on the tree out front, of course--and the dining room table, which is piled high with everything Fio has taken down.  And the tree, which she has undressed, but not yet dismantled.

March is the latest that Fiorella has ever had her decorations up, but it's also the first time she's been riding a writing deadline for a 325 page novel.  And yes, she's gonna make it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

In Memoriam

Happy birthday to my father, who sang "Little Brown Jug" to me as he drove me to Sunday School when Mother was in the hospital giving birth to my brother, who taught me how to swing a golf club,  who financed my daughter's college education.  Dad had a generous heart and a noble spirit.
And I hope he is with me still.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sounding Off

Fiorella wishes "they" would stop improving personal computers.  Her laptop has three different ways to control the size of print--the one labeled "font," the one that has a plus and minus on it, and the built-in mouse thing that suddenly enlarges the whole page if Fio so much as looks at it.

Fiorella is willing to learn how to do something--ONE way to do it, that is.  She doesn't need options.

And while she's on the topic, she doesn't like the way her font will suddenly up and change out of Times New Roman either.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Three Excepts from WHERE THE HEART LEADS

They’d met when they were sixteen.  All the high school students from the Bosque Bend end of the county had been transferred over to the newly-constructed consolidated school, and it had been a hard adjustment for Rafe, especially since he’d had the flu and was starting the semester a week late.  His first day back, he’d been standing in the center of the front hall and trying to make sense out of the list the office secretary had given him when a beautiful girl smiled at him and asked if she could help.  

The girl had guided him to his history classroom, then hurried off down the hall with a smile and wave of her hand.  He saw her later that day in English.  She’d smiled at him again and he knew he was in love.  
The Christmas season went into full swing the next day.  Cars sprouted felt deer horns out their windows and cheerful plastic wreaths on their grills, cedars along the road wound themselves with tinsel garlands, Santa Clauses sat on rooftops, reindeer pranced on parched lawns, and  a Salvation Army bell-ringer had stationed himself in front of WalMart.  
“Moira, Suh-weetie Pie, I’m so, so sorry, but I won’t be able to make it to—uh—Texas
this trip.”

An airplane engine roared in the background, and Moira could hear a flight attendant instructing passengers on how to use the drop-down oxygen mask.
“You understand.  I’ve been talking to Covergirl about representing their line of skin products for—um—older women.  I’ve let my hair go white—it’s the new blonde, you know, and makes my skin looks gorgeous”  Her voice dropped to a whisper.  “Hold on a minute.  There’s a hatchet-faced stewardess looking my way.  I’ll have to put you down and get a Vogue to hide behind.”

Monday, March 2, 2015

Onward and Upward!

Fiorella is invigorated.  She attended Far North, the critique group she moderates, and came home high as the proverbial kite.  There's nothing like palling around with other romance writers to get the old juices flowing.

The group started with just three people, but now there are twelve on the roll, with attendance bouncing between three and six.  It's all women, of course, but we'd welcome any male romance writers who want to join our merry crew. We read each other's pages, offer what we hope are helpful comments, tell funny stories on ourselves, and laugh a lot.

As moderator, Fio spends a lot of her time soliciting and sending out pages, planning topics for discussion, reminding current members of the meeting date, and talking to potential members, but it's worth it.  Every meeting, she comes away empowered.  Yes, she can shape this book up!  Yes, it will sell!  Yes, she is the queen of the world!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Power Play

Fio has conquered the office bitch, the one who delayed her appointments and blamed it on the insurance carrier.  And Fio did it through the use of the greatest power in the world--knowledge.

Fio didn't argue with the woman.  Instead, Fio side-stepped her and called the insurance company herself.  She called twice, in fact, to confirm that her treatment was authorized and that the insurance would pay for it.  But when she contacted the OB, the woman told her she would have to wait an extra week for the treatment to allow ninety days to pass since her last visit.  Fio got out her calendar and realized that those ninety days would indeed have passed by the date of the appointment she was trying to set.

Fiorella got her appointment when she wanted it.

Knowledge is power.